CITY AND COUNTY OF HONOLULU
Date and Place: May 16, 2006
Standard Financial Plaza
Conference Room, Suite 211
Present: Lex R. Smith
Raymond H. Fujii
Susan S. Heitzman
Matthew H. Kobayashi
Wayne T. Hikida
Charles W. Totto, Executive Director and Legal Counsel (EDLC)
Stenographer: Norm Fisher
I. CALL TO ORDER
The 396th meeting of the Ethics Commission (Commission or EC) was called to order at 11:02 a.m. by the Chair.
II. APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF THE OPEN SESSION OF THE
APRIL 18, 2006 OPEN MEETING
The minutes of the open meeting of April 18, 2006, were unanimously approved.
III. OLD BUSINESS
A. Confirming the date and time of the June 27, 2006 meeting and setting the date and time for the July, 2006 meeting
The EC confirmed the June 27, 2006 at 11:30 a.m. meeting, and set the date and time for the July 25, 2006 at 11:30 a.m. meeting in the Standard Financial Plaza Conference Room, Suite 211.
IV. NEW BUSINESS
A. Administrative news
The Executive Director and Legal Counsel (EDLC) referred to his memorandum dated May 12, 2006, outlining the ethics training conducted to date in fiscal year 2006.
The EC moved, seconded, and unanimously carried to go to the executive session.
V. EXECUTIVE SESSION SUMMARY
A. Approval of the minutes of the executive session of the April 18, 2006 meeting
The minutes of the executive session of April 18, 2006 were unanimously approved.
B. Request for subpoena to a former city officer
The EDLC reported that a few months ago a complaint was filed against a city officer for conducting private services during normal city working hours without taking vacation time. The EDLC stated that, generally, using city time for private employment violates RCH Sec. 11-104 because it is a misuse of a city resource for one’s personal gain.
The EDLC stated that the city officer asked that the EDLC contact her immediate predecessor, so he could describe the past practice. The EDLC stated that he has spoken with the individual on the telephone and understand that he has direct personal knowledge of the office’s policies and practices as to whether personnel were permitted to provide private services and under what conditions. The EDLC stated that the individual has cancelled one interview with him and failed to show for another. The EDLC stated that the individual will not return staff’s phone calls.
The EDLC stated that staff recommends that the resolution seeking a subpoena be adopted in order to ensure the individual’s cooperation with the investigation.
The EC moved, seconded, and unanimously carried to adopt the resolution to issue a subpoena.
C. Request for salary increase for the EDLC
The EDLC reported that at the last meeting, the Commission granted him a raise subject to whether the raise would significantly impact the Commission’s budgets for FY06 or FY07.
The EDLC reported that the Administrative Services Officer assured him that there will be sufficient funds for FY06, which ends June 30, 2006, even with the additional monies set aside for the raise. The EDLC stated that he has asked for this in writing and is waiting for a response.
The FY07 budget, however, would be affected by the amount of the EDLC’s raise. Therefore, the Commission asked to see more detailed projections of the FY07 budget in order to assess the impact of the raise.
D. Report and recommendation regarding possible violation of RCH Section 11-104 (misuse of position to obtain unwarranted benefit for another) by a city officer
The EDLC reported that the EC recently received a request from Councilmember Charles Djou in his role as Chair of the Executive Matters and Legal Affairs Committee to report whether a city officer violated the above-referenced ethics law.
The EDLC stated that after conducting an investigation, staff found no probable cause for an ethics violation by the city officer and recommended that the EC instruct staff to send an opinion letter stating this.
The EC moved, seconded, and unanimously carried to instruct staff to prepare and send an opinion letter to Councilmember Charles Djou stating that the EC finds that there was no violation of ethics laws by the city officer, and to offer guidance to avoid future potential problems and/or conflicts.
The EC moved, seconded, and unanimously carried to return to the open session.
The EC moved, seconded, and unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting. The meeting was adjourned at 12:00 p.m.